Canadian Tuxedo's Profile

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Loyal Nine, Cambridge

Thank you for the informative reply. Re-reading my comment I think I was a little too tough on the chef. It is good to know that they will alter some of the dishes to make them vegetarian (though one always wonders if that takes away from how it was originally constructed, as opposed to dishes created as vegetarian from the start). Perhaps they could just point that out on the menu? Many restaurants refuse to alter recipes, and often the person answering the phone isn't always knowledgeable about what is possible.

Loyal Nine, Cambridge

Can you tell your bosses to improve the vegetarian choices?

That alone is making a group of four to change their plans for Saturday night. Not that they will miss our business that night, but I just can't be impressed with any chef if they can't even try to do a half way decent vegetarian entree option (not small plate).

Mandatory 20% at Select?

I both like it and hate it.

Like because I would be fine doing away with tipping, paying employees a better wage, and having it reflected in the price of the food and drinks up front.

This doesn't accomplish that. Most likely because if he went that route, most people wouldn't take the fact that they aren't adding 15%-25% at the end when calculating the cost of their meals. Instead, they look at the menu prices and think, "my word, this is an expensive place!" So this service charge practically is nothing more than an up-charge on the prices you see on the menu that the establishment expects you to accept, whether or not you are doing the math at the beginning of the meal.

I say have some balls and just factor it into the prices up front and don't add "charges" at the end of the bill. Next he'll be charging for more leg room under the tables...


Just to defend my hood...Boston cops patrol JP. Boston Fire puts out JP fires. You park on the wrong streets in JP during a snow emergency and you get a Boston ticket.

I realize it seems SOOOOO out of the way for some who'd rather duck over the river to Cambridge and/or Somerville (never mind referencing Ribelle as a Boston restaurant while it's really Brookline), but JP is part of Boston proper. Not a suburb. Not a small town in the Boston metro area. It's bars, restaurants, and formerly fantastic backyard roti joints are (or were) part of Boston.

End of rant.

(I do agree about Same Old Place, though. Rizzo's is pretty solid, if you are in the neighborhood.)

Saturday evening cocktails for grown ladies

I haven't been to River Gods in a long time, but it is on the small side and used to get packed on most weekday nights. With a group that large, wouldn't it be dicey about a wait to get enough room? And it was never much of a cocktail destination, though obviously that may have changed since I last visited.

Otherwise, I used to really like that place.

d-bags at alden & harlow

This conversation has pretty much covered all the relevant points and sides, so the only thing I wanted to add was that I'll vote on the side of sharing that photo was a mistake.

If only for the chance of collateral damage. It seems that some believe that perhaps now they can be perfectly recognized from this one particular photo. So they will neither slightly change their look, and that no one else that looks similar might not be somehow retaliated against, though they had nothing to do with this.

If you believe that by sharing this picture others can refuse them service, are you confident that the staff will remember their faces correctly or even match up one particular photo in particular light to whatever the situation is in that particular restaurant or bar?

And if I'm overstating the concept that was the point of posting their pictures, what otherwise was the point? The hope that the friends of these two would somehow get the message and shame their friends?

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

Oh, apologies. I was just upset with myself that I only got there on the last night and questioned the bartender about why it was being shut down.

Tell the chef he needs to improve what is called "op-sec," operational security, if he wants to keep his plans on the down low. By that I mean don't tell the rest of the staff...but I can't wait to hear what is eventually in store.

Anybody been to the newly opened Santouka Ramen in Harvard Square yet?

Uh...that the chef is opening his own ramen place, most likely somewhere in Brookline? At least that is what the bartender told me when I visited on the last "Ramen Wednesday."

Dinner near W hotel?

Genki Ya is kitty corner from the W. Pretty solid sushi.

Restaurants with parking?

James Gate in JP has a fairly large free parking lot across the street. I haven't eaten off the "restaurant" menu, but the pub menu is quite good for, well, a pub menu. James Gate has two sides - the pub, with a big wood-fired fireplace, and the slightly brighter restaurant side. You can get food of both menus on the pub side, but only the restaurant menu on the restaurant side.

Regardless, pretty decent beer and whiskey selection.

Where You Go as Opposed to Where you are Supposed to Go?

JP-centric: I guess I'm supposed to go to Centre Street Cafe, and perhaps Ten Tables/Tres Gatos/Vee Vee. And I do.

But I also frequently go to the Galway House. Surprisingly good seafood and other bargains on the menu.

7 days of different Ramen in Boston, found a new champ!

Interesting. I also checked it out this past Wednesday and inquired about it ending. I was told that the chef is leaving to open up his own ramen place somewhere in Brookline. The person who shared this information didn't have a timeline or exact location.

Btw, I went the Tan Tan route and it was delicious. I'm sorry that I didn't find out about this earlier.

Drinking establishment to GSD!

The Brendan Behan in JP might work for you. Good beer selection, you can bring in whatever food you'd like, and while not empty relatively quiet during the day (well, quiet except for the bartender's choice of music...). I can't promise, but I know some of the bartenders will give you the wi-fi password if you ask nicely.

I often see one or two people working on a laptop during the day.

ISO Quiet place for a winter drink, Harvard-Porter-Davis Squares

The Red House in Harvard Square might be an option. I haven't been in the past two winters, but they used to serve a warm beverage of some sort during the winter, as well as a decent beer selection (I can't speak to their wines).

The biggest plus is the wood fueled fireplace and the small tables in front of it. It tends to get busy after normal work hours, but if you can get there in the afternoon it tends to be quiet and you can score a table in front of the fire.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Regarding Boylston-to-JFK St., the story is that in the very early eighties when Reagan was in office and there was a strong anti-Democratic party sentiment the Kennedy School dropped "Kennedy" off of its letterhead and went with Harvard School of Government instead. The Cambridge City Council did not approve and changed the name of the street so that no matter what JFK would appear in the address of the School.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Oh man, thanks for reminding me about Chutneys. I really liked that place, but had moved away from Boston for a few years and have just recently returned. While I've been back to the Square I haven't had the need to go into the Garage. And I'm embarrassed to admit I forget about Chutneys.

Lunch options in Harvard Square

Certainly not knocking the Kennedy School cafeteria as it is solid for it's size, but those of who used to work there would sometimes venture across the river to the Business School cafeteria. So many more choices (I seem to remember that they had a sushi chef on staff, but I could be making that up), very good quality, and very reasonable. Between the two schools you can tell who has the donors with the bigger pockets...

Lunch options in Harvard Square

For pizza definitely check out Pinocchio's on Winthrop, just off of JFK. Try their Sicilian.

Burritos at Felipe's. They are currently operating out of Flat Patties while they build out their new location a couple of doors down at what used to be a Bertucci's.

Retirement party for 50 near Government Center

What about the "Chez Freddie Lounge," the back room in Silvertone? Should meet all your criteria.

Curious why ramen is so rare and yet sushi joints are on every corner?

I've been out of Boston in DC for several years, and regardless wouldn't feel comfortable giving an opinion about this particular food in this particular market.

But, I would like to say that y'all are silly. By that I mean all the talk of Japanese equivalents and pork and _____. Different country. Different market. Stop comparing. Even to NYC and LA. I've never been to Japan. But while I've traveled extensively in Eastern Europe, I don't hold restaurants in that part of the world as absolute comparisons to what I find here. Nor what my mother (born and raised in that part of the world) made as an absolute comparison. It informs...not distinguishes.

That said, there a number of good ramen joints in DC. By good, I mean I like them and they are reviewed well. I cannot compare them to anything in Japan or NYC or LA personally. However, they seem to be well regarded and despite the international population in this town, the "not up to Japanese or NYC standards" snobbishness doesn't seem to appear here.

But to the question of sushi vs. ramen: I don't know why one got accepted over the other originally, but sushi began invading the American conscious back at least in the 80's, if not 70's. That's a pretty big head start, which led to the proliferation of sushi over ramen in towns across this country.

Ramen is just breaking in over this last five or ten years, so regardless of other factors I wouldn't be surprised if it took at least another ten years before it became established across the US.

Boston Cocktail Summit October 4-6

So what was the hot wash/after action impact report?

Did local establishments (including staff) gain from the event or did they actually lose money while gaining little new esteem?

Nov 28, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

For every topic where I might disagree with you on this board, I really do miss the equivalent of your Cheap Eats articles down here in DC.

Everyone (MSM and bloggers alike) wants to review the hottest new thing. But deep diving into the lowest price category of establishments and highlighting those that hit it out of the park is a true service to those of us who want value but can't possibly hit every hole in the wall while hoping to find a diamond in the rough.

(That last sentence an awful example of what not to include in a review, just to draw out that string...)

While in Boston, more than a few places were inserted in my regular rotation due to your hard work. So thanks.

Upscale meal with good vegetarian options

Thanks for making the vegetarian case. While we lived there, my vegetarian girlfriend and I loved the occasional trip to Craigie. I'd heard the story you tell about Maw's attitude, but the options are limited for vegetarians. The one thing we learned was that while the Chef's Choice menu changed often for the regular guest, the vegetarian option was best ordered on an almost quarterly basis, because the options (so basically thinking and creativity) didn't change nearly as much.

For the OP, I would suggest Bondir. While I didn't get the chance to try it before moving away, my veg girlfriend did on a visit back. And she loved it. And she doesn't eat seafood of any kind (just to be clear). So obviously that might fit with what you are looking for. Good luck.

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

And may you never be led astray because you chuckled at a succinct review that ends up having nothing to do with reality.

This isn't the New York Times or Atlantic. Good writing makes it easier to digest the information being presented. But if I'm looking for tips and ideas about new restaurants or interesting dishes, I want reliable information first and captivating writing last.

So MC has it right when he wrote: " You like what you like, and don't like what you don't, and that's as it should be."

But gets off the point when he begins a sentence: "Good writing, a sense of humor" that ends "are also good signifiers." They signify some writing talent and say nothing about that individual's taste, impartiality, or subject matter knowledge.

And MC, yes you rattle on here and in the pieces you did for the non-Phoenix free weeklies. The Cheap Eat articles I found invaluable. The others...not so much. I always figured you had a stronger editor at the Phoenix.

Why all the fuss? I just don't get it.

What does good writing have to do with anything?

I agree on following the advice of individuals who seem to flow with your own tastes, but their ability to write clearly or make one laugh leads one down the dark path of opinion page writers who do not offer insight but only distraction.

Pointing out a great hidden gem of a dish or a restaurant does not require an editor, thesaurus, or a SNL writing team...

Boston Cocktail Summit October 4-6

This all sounds expected for a first time "big conference," but also unfortunate.

I don't live in Boston anymore, but I have to admit that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the participating bartenders couldn't get their shifts covered for one evening for this event.

Bars in the Boston area are depleted of the top staff for Tales, and in DC one of the higher profile establishments (equivalent to Drink) closed for a couple of days so most of the staff could go down to New Orleans to lend support for their one chance at an award.

Bad on Boston-area bar managers not to support this conference by working the schedule to get the right people off at the right times. Short term angst would be negated by long term good publicity.

Oct 16, 2012
Canadian Tuxedo in Spirits

Channel 5 News: Dave Andelman complains about food trucks hurting brick-and-mortar restaurant business

You're not a blogger...but you include your blog's website at the bottom of your post? (You might not have updated it in a while, but you still have a blog.)

Just sayin'.

And yes, you have the reviews in the free weeklies and push your reviews on twitter when they are picked up by eater.com....but that doesn't mean you should try to distance yourself from a tool you use to push those other "non-blogging...but really what's the difference" pieces.

Brick & Mortar

My first experiences with Misty behind the bar was near the end of her Green St. tenure. That was before she became renown for her Mescal drinks and instead when asked for something off menu or a general suggestion (at least in my experience) it was Green Chartreuse heavy.

Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoy Chartreuse. But it is also a powerful taste and can be overwhelming. Sometimes the drinks she made were not balanced in this regard. I'm not sure what nights this occurred, though it was almost certainly not a weekend night as I was likely to drop by after work during that period.

Restaurants that AREN'T doing Restaurant Week?

I'm not insulted by restaurants not taking part in RW. The economic argument against it is certainly strong. In general I do think the "we're not doing it but having a slightly higher prix fixe" is just an attempt to accomplish the same goal while covering the cost of ingredients.

But what insulted me about that oped were some of the core arguments: health care, cost of local produce, and 9/11. Health care is a complicated subject, and not a core reason that a restaurant THIS year can't afford to do RW (hasn't the costs been rising for years--never mind all the other factors?). As I mentioned, he isn't using local produce over the winter (unless its hothouse and who is going to pay a premium for that?) but likely not lowering the corresponding prices. And I won't even go over the 9/11 argument again--that is just morally insulting.

I'm no longer a Boston-area customer and haven't participated in RW for years, but while I certainly can understand why many establishments could see the logic of not participating I will certainly call out a horribly bad effort at making an argument against it when it insults all restaurant patrons.

Restaurants that AREN'T doing Restaurant Week?

I didn't think it is fascinating, just poor taste.

"For example, there was a year when my health insurance went up 30 percent. For a small business, that’s very difficult to absorb."

Yes, it is. For all small businesses. Yet many of them still do sales and other promotions aimed at increasing their clientele. It seems as if many places no longer feel RW accomplishes that goal, but beginning the article by citing a systemic issue is weak tea in terms of basing his argument in the environment of the restaurant business and RW.

"The mixed greens I buy cost $10 or $12 a pound, whereas I can pay $7 for a 3-pound box of organic spring mix like you see in the supermarket. It’s raised in California by a giant corporation, while the mix I get is local and picked a few times a week. They may contain some of the same varieties of greens, but there’s a world of difference."

I checked Lumiere's menu online and didn't see a salad where this was an issue. And does he adjust the price during that long period of time that he can't get greens grown in New England? Tell his customers that the salad they are ordering no longer is grown locally when it's December? Never mind the impact on the environment of trucking greens in from neighboring states as opposed to shipping them by sea (local may taste better, but studies show it's often worse for the environment as trucks are much worse for carbon emissions than ships or trains).

"A fundamental change in the restaurant industry took place after September 11, 2001. People got scared. Up until then you had irrational exuberance. Today, the haves have more and everybody else has a little less, and I think that affects restaurants as well. You also see businesses spending less on food and dining."

"But there are new restaurants opening almost every day. More food dollars are being spent outside the home, and the economy here, for a lot of people, is still quite good."

Okay....9/11. Really. Over ten years later. Really?!? Yes there was a short lived impact, but he's blaming larger economic shifts on 9/11? That gets perilously close to the "Hitler" rule in international relations punditry--you cite Hitler (or the Nazis) and you've already invalidated your point.

But he provides that service himself when he points out that "new restaurants opening almost every day." They might not be participating in RW. Yet there is apparently a market for new restaurants. People want to eat out. Just maybe not at his restaurants like they used to. There is probably a very good market-based reason for that. They don't seem to be suffocating under the cost of locally grown greens or the health care market.

Just refuse to participate in RW. Don't insult your customers by crying over your greens and bringing up 9/11.

Poor taste.